7 Reasons Why Los Angeles Dodgers Had Terrible May
Reasons why Los Angeles Dodgers had terrible May
Today is the last day of May, and it’s a sure bet the Los Angeles Dodgers can’t wait to flip the calendar to June.
Last night’s loss to the Los Angeles Angels assured the Dodgers of their worst month of May in franchise history. Entering the last day of the month, the Blue Crew are 9-17 in May and did not win more than two consecutive games during the 31-day month. The Dodgers never gained any momentum and rarely showed signs of life during May. It is hard to believe that four teams (Houston Astros, Miami Marlins, Kansas City Royals and Milwaukee Brewers) all had worse months than the Dodgers.
They can enter the Dodgers Hall of Shame again tonight if they lose to the Colorado Rockies. A defeat would give them 20 losses in the month, tying them with the June 1968 and June 1979 Dodgers for most losses in a month since the team moved to Los Angeles. If they keep this play up in June, they could always chase the franchise record of 27 losses in a month. That record belongs to the Brooklyn Dodgers, who 'accomplished' it in 1908.
Now back to 2013. You wouldn’t think the Dodgers' May was all that bad if you looked at L.A’s team batting average and team pitching ERA. As a team, its batting average was .260 in May, which was good for sixth-best in the National League. Its pitching staff ERA was 3.74, which was good for seventh-best in the NL. So what gives? Here are seven reasons why the Dodgers had their worst May in club history.
Poor roster management
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly and the front office have made many puzzling moves with their roster this season. They sat injured Mark Ellis for more than week before finally putting him on the disabled list early this month. By doing that, the Dodgers were short-handed on the bench during a crucial division games. They did the same thing to Jerry Hairston Jr. A bench with no depth is a pool with no water. Also, keeping Luis Cruz on the team this season is still a question mark to me. The Opening Day third baseman is hitting .122 this season and still sporting a uniform. Also, let’s not forget that on two different occasions, the team has had three catchers on the active roster.
No run support for Clayton Kershaw
The Dodgers should win every game when Clayton Kershaw pitches. But this season, they are 5-4 when the team’s ace starts on the mound. The four losses have a lot to do with lack of run support. A pitcher with an ERA of 1.68 should be 9-0, but during games that Kershaw pitches, the Dodgers are averaging 2.45 runs. Amongst qualifying pitchers, that ranks second to last in MLB out of 103 pitchers. The Dodgers need to stop putting all the pressure on Kershaw and score some runs for him.
No manager or team wants to use injuries as an excuse for losing, but it is hard to forget how many injuries the Dodgers have dealt with this month. Hanley Ramirez played only two games in May (four all season), and L.A. had to deal with six starting pitchers being sent to the disabled list. Now Matt Kemp is on the DL and catcher A.J. Ellis and starting left fielder Carl Crawford could be headed there soon. If the latter two do reach the DL, that would mean five of the eight projected starters in the field for the Dodgers will have done time on the DL this season. Not once have the Dodgers fielded a starting lineup they projected to have when Spring Training began in April.
The Dodgers' bullpen has had a history of being one of the elite pens in the majors over the years. Not so much this season, especially in May. The team blew six leads during the month and hold a 4.14 ERA, which ranks 22nd in the league. They also lead the majors in inherited runners scored with 32. Closer Brandon League has been inconsistent. and even setup man Kenley Jansen has shown signs of weakness. A team without a good bullpen is a team that better have good golf clubs come playoff time.
Back end of starting rotation
Here is a stat that will make you cringe if you are a Dodgers fan. In games started by Chris Capuano, Matt Magill, Ted Lilly and Josh Beckett, the Dodgers record is 3-19. Doh! The back end of the rotation has provided no help to the front end this season, and that is a big reason why the Dodgers are in last place. It doesn't appear to get any better any time soon. Beckett may not even return this season, Magill is back in the minors and Capuano and Lilly won't be as dependable as they have been in the past.
Lack of clutch hitting
Take away first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, and there are no clutch genes in the Dodgers clubhouse this season. With runners in scoring position, the Dodgers rank 28th in the majors with a .226 batting average. With two outs, the Dodgers rank 22nd with a .232 batting average. I saved the best for last: with the bases loaded, the Blue Crew is hitting just .128, which is last in all of baseball.
Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier
Before the Dodgers had the high expectation and the biggest payroll in the majors, there was Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. The two outfielders have been the gel of this franchise for almost five seasons. They have been the stars, but it is clear they are falling off the hit wagon this season. Kemp has just two home runs this season and is back on the disabled list with a strained hamstring. Ethier has just four home runs and has been terrible in clutch situations this season. These two Dodgers need to get going this summer if the team has any hopes of a successful 2013 campaign.